£16 post free World-wide


555 sonatas 9Cds mp3 files
Only £22


Benjamin: Written on Skin £16

What's New
Previous CDs
Labels index

Every Day we post 10 new Classical CD and DVD reviews. A free weekly summary is available by e-mail. MusicWeb is not a subscription site. To keep it free please purchase discs through our links.

  Classical Editor: Rob Barnett  
Founder Len Mullenger   


Crotchet   AmazonUK   AmazonUS

Ottorino RESPIGHI (1879-1936)
Ancient Dances and Airs for Lute Suites Nos: 1, for orchestra (1917); 2, for chamber orchestra (1924); 3, for strings (1932)
Philharmonia Hungarica/Antal Dorati
Recorded: Grosser Saal, Wiener Konzerthaus, 9-11 June 1958. ADD
Super Audio CD 3 channel stereo


This release of Respighi’s complete Ancient Dances and Airs for Lute is such an easy CD to review. This is one of the most superb recordings that I have had the privilege to hear. I cannot find fault with the CD which I would describe as one of the ‘great’ recordings of all time.

Respighi’s overall achievements rest mainly on the trilogy of orchestral tone poems in which he interpreted different facets of Rome; namely its fountains, pines and festivals. He identified himself with the distant past and these three Suites are modern transcriptions and adaptations of pieces for lute from Italian and French Renaissance and early Baroque composers. Most of the tunes were taken from the collection of lute music transcribed and published by the Italian musicologist Oscar Chilesotti. The movements represent an incredibly successful synthesis of contrasts of brilliant orchestral colours, some sturdy, some delicately transparent and all truly delightful.

Both the Philharmonia Hungarica and Antal Dorati were at their prime at the time of this recording. Conductor and orchestra clearly relished the art of creating records in the studio and became a most prolific team. Dorati directs truly exhilarating accounts bringing out the invention and imagination in Respighi’s brilliant scoring. These are extraordinary performances of outstanding virtuosity conveying sheer enjoyment.      

Using a CD player to play this SACD I have not heard a recording so clear, so well balanced and as detailed for a long time. It is hard to believe that this is forty-five years old; it sounds of demonstration standard - absolutely magnificent. A remarkable achievement.

Michael Cookson

Return to Index

Untitled Document

Reviews from previous months
Join the mailing list and receive a hyperlinked weekly update on the discs reviewed. details
We welcome feedback on our reviews. Please use the Bulletin Board
Please paste in the first line of your comments the URL of the review to which you refer.